My dreams were always the same: me helplessly doing the same actions with the same results. Only one row of lights flickered on in the gym. My bare feet stuck to the gymnastic mats that lined the floor. In the back corner, a barrier of mats sectioned off part of the room, the darkest part. My toes curled around the concrete blocks that made up the walls as I climbed high enough to see over it. My eyes adjusted, revealing shadows and a maze of mats. Nothing stirred. Nothing every stirred the first time.

I was sliding back down when a soft, raspy voice whispered, “Hello?”

My muscles tensed. “Who’s there?” I already knew.

The voice was too quiet to understand. I pressed my ear against the mats. “Are you trapped?”

“Yes,”

Me too.

I wiped my palms on my leggings and scaled the wall. A small figure huddled beside the barrier, her dark hair hiding her face. Maybe I could climb back down and leave. I inched closer to the barrier and dropped onto her side. Cool air shocked my skin. Why didn’t I put a jacket on over my leotard after gymnastics? Dream logic.

Stepping towards her, I wrapped my arms around myself. “Are you ok?”

She looked up at me, and my insides collapsed. Tears mingled with the blood smeared across her mouth/my mouth. She held her hands out to me, her face/my face, twisted in pain.

Fiction

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